Zwierzyniec stretches south-west of the Krakow Market Square (you can get here from the center of ul. Kosciuszko, by trams #1,2, 6, 21), which belongs to the district of Krowodrza, but thanks to its rich tradition, fame and charm ranks among the top of the most attractive places in Krakow.
Zwierzyniec was already in the 12th century, whose name written in the documents evolved from Sverincia through Zwerencia, Swerzint to Zwierzyniec, as a settlement, which turned into a monastery village of the Premonstratensians and Premonstratensians. It functioned as a suburb for centuries, to 1910 r., when it was administratively attached to Krakow in the form of an independent district. In years 70. became part of Krowodrza. Its name comes from the royal hunting grounds that once stretched here. Zwierzyniec suburbs, endowed with great beauty of the landscape and richness of fauna and flora, for centuries they have enticed the inhabitants of Krakow with a colorful tradition of folk games. This is where Lajkonik comes from, Emaus, nativity scenes and others, forgotten today, customs and fun. The last century brought a breath of the Tingel-Tanglian underworld to the atmosphere of Zwierzyniec, about which the once popular vaudeville "Queen of the Suburbs" treats, with the main character – Beautiful Manka.
At the confluence of the Vistula and Rudawa rivers, there is the Zwierzyńca estate called Salwator, on a small area of which truly monumental monuments are concentrated. Near the tram terminus, it is impossible not to notice the monastery complex of the Norbertine Sisters, called Pannami Zwierzyniec – one of the oldest religious orders in Krakow.
When in 1162 r. Knight Jaksa Cryfita from Kopanica provided funds for the monastery and church, the construction was done by the Premonstratensians who came from the city of Doxau from Bohemia. From the beginning of its existence until the 16th century. at the church of St.. Augustine and St.. John the Baptist, there were two abbeys: male and female, norbertanie and norbertanki. Due to its location outside the city, by the river, the monastery and church were exposed to enemy attacks. The first Tatar invasion, not long after the monastery was built, caused, that in the thirteenth century. it was necessary to build a new church, this time a brick one. The present external condition of the monastery complex is due to several modifications over the centuries and a thorough reconstruction at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.. A fascinating exception are the towers and walls from the times of King Jagiełło.
A very old tradition of the Norbertine convent, held until the First World War, it was hitting every night – at. 21.10 – ten times a broken bell, which – as the legend explains – three times cast by a bell founder, it broke every time. The blows called for prayers for the souls of people drowned in the Vistula – and hence the name: "Bell of drowned people". There is also an awe-inspiring telling legend, that the Tatars ravaging Krakow took the bell from the tower and drowned it in the Vistula. Since then, every Midsummer night, a sunken bell would rise to the surface of the water, ringing terrifyingly, it spread fear. Only when it struck midnight on the town hall clock, he returned to the depths. Each, who was on the river at that time, he was lost along with the drowned bell.
The most impressive is the monastery from the side of the Vistula River, from where it looks like an old fortified settlement. Nothing unusual, that its walls along with the Vistula escarpment, on which it stands, were a popular subject of painting landscapes.
Classicist interior of the Church of St.. Augustine and John the Baptist, from the 18th century, it strikes with its indulgence kitsch. The colors are dominated by white and gold, and the most artistically ambitious element of the decor seems to be the pulpit. In the main altar, designed in the 18th century. there is a picture, from which the co-patron of the temple looks down, John the Baptist. Vision, slipping through paintings in a rather naive convention, he will certainly linger longer on the left altar, where under the image of Bl. Bronisława was placed in a gilded coffin with her relics. Worth knowing, that the tin reliquary with the Blessed's skull was hidden in the treasury of the church. It is best to visit the temple on Sunday during the break between the morning and noon services. Regardless of the kitsch of the decor, church of St.. Augustine and John the Baptist has been associated with two extremely popular folk holidays for centuries: the march from Lajkoniki and the remission of Emmaus.
Not much is known about Blessed Bronisław. She certainly came from the powerful Odrowąż family and belonged to the Norbertine order, but with less certainty it can be said, that she was a sister of St.. Jacket. She died in the hermitage in Sikornik, St. 1259 r “Today, at the foot of the Kościuszko Mound, there is a neo-Gothic chapel. The cult of Blessed Bronisława intensified in the 17th century., After a year 1604, when her grave was accidentally discovered. W 1859 r. the process of beatification of the Norbertine nun was carried out, and since then every year on her feast day, falling on 1 September, crowds of believers gather in the church of St.. John the Baptist and Augustine, praying to Bronisława for intercession.